Must-have data center utilities: Picks by IT pros
From real-time server graphing to capacity planning and virtual machine backup, these are tools worth checking out.
Computerworld - Not everything is handed to data center managers on a silver platter. Sure, a few administrative tools arrive on freshly produced discs right from the server vendor. But there are some indispensable tools you can get from third parties, open-source providers or even IT colleagues with some extra time to develop apps.
Here's a wide assortment of tools to choose from, and the reasons why data center managers recommend them.
What is it? The most recommended tool on our list, Cacti, provides real-time graphing and visual cues about the health of a data center. Cacti's front end ties into the open-source monitoring tool RRDtool, which in turn collects data from SQL servers and other components. All the data collected via Cacti is stored in a MySQL database. This setup helps managers monitor performance, server load, temperature and other variables. Its tree structure lets you build reports for specific users.
Who needs it? Data center managers can use Cacti to check server load levels and network performance. For example, IT staffers might use the tool to check the metrics of a specific network switch.
How much does it cost? As with most open-source tools, there is no direct cost for purchasing or using Cacti in the data center, but support and maintenance costs can match those for commercial applications.
Why is it better than the competition? One of the main differentiators with Cacti is that, as with most open-source software, you can find existing scripts and check in with other users about how they use the tool. Cacti also supports benchmark reporting for multiple users.
What are its limitations? As with most open-source tools, you are mostly on your own when it comes to support. And the tool only works in specific scenarios: those data centers running RRDtool with a SQL database. Cacti may be limited in terms of accessing some proprietary server and network architectures.
What do customers say? "We utilize Cacti so we can identify areas to increase efficiency for everything from network paths to power usage to the temperature and humidity of the facility," says Frank Bieser, vice president and CFO of Core NAP, a colocation data center provider in Austin.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- HP HAVEn: See the big picture in Big Data HP HAVEn is the industry's first comprehensive, scalable, open, and secure platform for Big Data. Enterprises are drowning in a sea of data...
- Piecing Together the Business Intelligence Puzzle Business intelligence (BI) technology collects and analyzes company data, delivering relevant information to corporate decision-makers in an effort to produce favorable outcomes.
- Harness IT -- An Introduction to Business Intelligence Solutions Learn the key selection criteria required to provide your organization with the capability to address structured data, unstructured data and mobile demands so...
- Business Intelligence Shows its Smarts Today's Business Intelligence (BI) tools provide a new way to think about data with self-service capabilities and user-friendly analytics that can be used...
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- Testimonial: Cystic Fibrosis Trust Peter Hawkins, the Head of IT for Cystic Fibrosis Trust, discusses the role CommVault's Simpana software platform plays in improving the company's information... All Data Center White Papers | Webcasts